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Journal of Clinical Lipidology

Year: 2014  |  Volume: 8  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 107 - 116

Therapeutic practice patterns related to statin potency and ezetimibe/simvastatin combination therapies in lowering LDL-C in patients with high-risk cardiovascular disease

Peter P. Toth, JoAnne M. Foody, Joanne E. Tomassini, Shiva G. Sajjan, Dena R. Ramey, David R. Neff, Andrew M. Tershakovec, X. Henry Hu and Kaan Tunceli



Statin combination therapy and statin uptitration have been shown to be efficacious in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering and are recommended for patients with high-risk coronary heart disease (CHD) who do not reach guideline-endorsed LDL-C goals on statin monotherapy.


This analysis evaluated treatment practice patterns and LDL-C lowering for patients with CHD/CHD risk equivalent on statin monotherapy in a real-world practice setting in the United States.


In this retrospective, observational study, patients with CHD/CHD risk equivalent on statin therapy were identified during 2004 to 2008 in a US managed care database. Prescribing patterns and effect of switching from statin monotherapy to combination ezetimibe/simvastatin therapy vs uptitration to higher statin dose/potency level and no change from initial statin potency on LDL-C lowering were assessed. Percentage of change from baseline in LDL-C levels and odds ratios for LDL-C goal attainment were estimated with analyses of covariance and logistic regression.


Of 27,919 eligible patients on statin therapy, 2671 (9.6%) switched to ezetimibe/simvastatin therapy, 11,035 (39.5%) uptitrated statins, and 14,213 (50.9%) remained on the same statin monotherapy. LDL-C reduction from baseline and attainment of LDL-C <100 and <70 mg/dL were substantially greater for patients who switched to ezetimibe/simvastatin therapy (−24.0%, 81.2%, and 35.2%, respectively) than for patients who titrated (−9.6%, 68.0%, and 18.4%, respectively) or remained on initial statin therapy (4.9%, 72.2%, and 23.7%, respectively). The odds ratios for attainment of LDL-C <100 and <70 mg/dL were also higher for patients who switched than for patients who uptitrated and had no therapy change than for patients who titrated vs no therapy change. Similarly, among a subgroup of patients not at LDL-C <100 mg/dL on baseline therapy, attainment of LDL-C <100 and <70 mg/dL was greater for patients who switched than for statin uptitration vs no change, as well as for patients who uptritrated statins vs no therapy change.


In this study, LDL-C lowering and goal attainment rates improved substantially for patients with high-risk CHD on statin monotherapy who switched to combination ezetimibe/statin or uptitrated their statin therapies; however, approximately one-third of these patients still did not attain the optional recommended LDL-C goal of <70 mg/dL. Moreover, these higher efficacy lipid-lowering therapies were infrequently prescribed, indicating the need for further assessment of barriers to LDL-C goal attainment in actual practice settings.

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